By MICHAEL-SHAWN DUGARWhile some bands are chasing musical popularity, American Bonfire is just having fun.
The four-piece modern country group doesn’t have a national tour in the works, nor do they want one. They’re content with playing local gigs on the Palouse and occasionally in the Spokane area.
Their next performance will be Saturday at the annual EMT and Firefighter Appreciation Day at Scenic 6 Park in Potlatch.
American Bonfire is a relatively new band, their first gig coming just three months ago in Clarkston. The band features Lance Mitchell on bass along with singer and rhythm guitarist James Aaseby, drummer Mike Paz and guitarist Jimmy Davidson.
Having years of experience in various bands in the area, Mitchell learned a long time ago there wasn’t much glory to be had in the Inland Northwest music scene.
“A bass player once told me about 20 years ago, ‘You better not be doing it for the money because this local stuff doesn’t pay much. So either do it for the chicks or you do it for the kicks,’” Mitchell said. “And we’re pretty much all married, so we’re doing it for the great time.”
So in this instance, if someone in the audience were to yell, “Don’t quit your day job!” then they’d simpl yell back they have no plans to.
It’s the acceptance of music as a part-time job that not only enhances group chemistry — since they don’t have to manage many egos in a local cover band — but it also creates a more carefree, engaging live show environment.
“We want the people out there watching us to have a great time,” Mitchell said. “I try to make (them) feel like part of the band. Obviously, we can’t let everyone up on stage to jam and sing, but I like networking with the crowd — they buy us drinks, I buy them drinks — just like a good ol’ family party.”
At the moment they’re strictly a cover band, but Mitchell said there is original music on the way — and not the typical country music people are used to hearing. Instead, they plan to create a hard rock, modern country hybrid genre of music.
Their next gig at the EMT and Firefighter Appreciation Day fundraiser isn’t just another performance, it’s a chance to show their support for communities, servicemen and women and “what America should stand for.”
“I pretty much lean toward the libertarian, constitutionalist thing,” Mitchell said. “You know, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I don’t care what people do, I believe in the freedoms of America to choose what you want to do, pursue what you want to do and live life to the fullest.”
IF YOU GO
What: American Bonfire performing at EMT and Firefighter Appreciation Day
Where: Scenic 6 Park, 125 Sixth St., Potlatch
When: 11 a.m. Saturday